August 15, 2009 in City

County’s math WASL scores drop slightly

By The Spokesman-Review

Math scores among Spokane County’s largest public school districts fell slightly on the WASL since last year, according to results released Friday.

“The math was not required for graduation, so they (students) didn’t take the test seriously,” said Razak Garoui, Spokane Public Schools director of assessment and learning. “But for the incoming ninth-graders, it will be required.”

In math, Spokane Public Schools was about 3 percentage points below the state average as well as 3 points below last year’s assessment. Central Valley and Mead scored similarly.

For Spokane County schools overall, it was the same scenario as last year: no dramatic improvements or surprising drops in any of the assessment areas – reading, writing, math and science.

Statewide results showed no significant changes either.

“Plateau or flat is a good way to describe it,” said Alan Burke, state deputy superintendent of public instruction.

Spokane Public Schools Superintendent Nancy Stowell described the district’s scores as “kind of a mixed bag. We’re up in some grades and down in others.”

It’s the last time schools will evaluate performance on the Washington Assessment of Student Learning; that particular statewide assessment is dead. The next assessment will be based on new expectations.

“We are going to put it online, which I think students will enjoy more because they like computers,” said Randy Dorn, state superintendent. “It will take less time.”

Math standards, which students statewide have struggled with, will change, Dorn said. Instead of covering a range of concepts, the standards will shrink to assess performance in a narrower, more traditional definition of mathematics.

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